Small businesses often face unique challenges when managing their IT systems. They typically have limited budgets, staff, time, and resources, making keeping up with the latest technology trends and security threats challenging. By hiring managed IT services, small business owners or team members don’t have to wear the IT Specialist hat along with all the other tasks they are juggling.
Managed IT services provide small businesses access to a team of IT professionals who can help them manage their technology infrastructure. These services can include everything from help desk support to network monitoring and security to software and hardware management. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of managed IT services for small businesses and provide some best practices for choosing a managed IT services provider.
Benefits of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses
#1: Cost & Time Savings
One of the most significant benefits of managed IT services is cost savings. Many small businesses end up with a long laundry list of apps, services, and programs they don’t fully understand to “manage” their IT needs. Often, these tools end up conflicting with each other and leave substantial gaps where hackers can slip through, or systems can fail.
By outsourcing your IT needs to a managed services provider, you don’t have to worry about the ongoing costs of hardware and software upgrades. Your provider will provide all of the correct resources for your business, saving you on those overlapping fees. Plus, you have the added cost-effectiveness of avoiding the high expense of hiring and training an in-house IT team.
#2: Increased Business Productivity
Managed IT services can help increase productivity by minimizing downtime and resolving issues quickly. The last thing you want is for your staff to be sitting around while they wait for tech issues to be fixed! With a team of IT professionals available around the clock, you can ensure your systems are always up and running smoothly.
Plus, forgetting to back up your computer systems and data constantly is commonplace. Sadly, it can lead to years of hard work going down the drain if your entire data network disappears overnight. Fortunately, managed IT services provide data backup, so you never have to worry about that again!
#3: Improved Business & Client Security
As technology improves, so do hackers; thus, so much your IT team. Security is a top concern for small businesses, as they are often targets of cyber-attacks. It is never a good day when client information is stolen or systems fail due to a cyber-attack. Managed IT services can help improve security by providing regular security updates, monitoring potential threats, and implementing best practices for data protection.
#4: Access to Expertise & Continued Education
Unfortunately, small businesses may not have the budget or resources to hire a team of IT professionals with a diverse set of skills, nor can they juggle continued education in technology while managing a business. Managed IT services provide access to a team of experts with a range of knowledge and experience, ensuring that you have the right resources to address any IT needs that arise, now or in the future!
Best Practices for Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider
As you can see, managed IT services are incredibly beneficial to employ in a small business. However, not all managed IT services are the same. Prior to choosing a provider, we recommend considering the following tips in your hiring process.
Determine Your IT Needs
Before choosing a managed IT services provider, it’s crucial to determine your IT needs. This includes assessing your current systems and identifying areas where you need additional support. We recommend having an in-depth chat with whoever has been managing your IT thus far. If that is you, we advise chatting with small businesses similar to yours that have hired managed IT services to see which services they need the most. You should also consider your budget and any specific compliance requirements for your industry.
Research Local Managed IT Services Providers
Once you’ve identified your IT needs, it’s time to research managed IT services providers. Look for providers with experience working with small businesses in your industry. Of course, you should check their credentials and certifications to ensure they have the expertise to support your specific needs. Plus, you want to verify their reputation and reviews.
Evaluate IT Services Offered
Not all managed IT services providers offer the same services. It’s essential to evaluate the services offered by each provider to ensure they meet your specific needs. Look for providers that provide a range of services, including help desk support, network monitoring and security, and hardware and software management. Conversely, you want your provider to solely work in this field. If they offer other industry services, like website building or social media management, they are likely a jack-of-all-trades rather than the expert you need.
Consider Communication and Availability
Communication is key when working with a managed IT services provider. Look for providers that are responsive and available around the clock to address any issues that arise. You should also consider their communication methods, such as phone, email, or online chat, to ensure they can provide support in a way that works for your business. Don’t forget about on-site assistance! Your managed IT services provider should be able to come to your location for assistance if needed, so you will want to avoid outsourcing your IT to other countries or states.
Review Service Level Agreements
Service level agreements (SLAs) outline the terms of the services provided by a managed IT services provider. Reviewing these agreements carefully is important to ensure they meet your needs. Look for providers that offer SLAs with clear expectations and guarantees for response times and issue resolution.
Check for Scalability and Flexibility
Lastly, as your business grows, your IT needs will change. Choosing an IT services provider that can scale its services to meet your changing needs is critical. Look for providers that offer flexible pricing models and can easily add or remove services as needed. Plus, check on their continuing education plans. The tech industry is constantly evolving, and you want to ensure that your IT team is keeping up with the latest trends, so your tech doesn’t turn into a dinosaur!
IT Haven Pro – Your Local Managed IT Services Provider
In the ever-evolving world of technology, there is the potential to innovate and develop opportunities beyond our wildest dreams. Unfortunately, with every positive comes a negative. That rapidly changing technology can place small businesses at a disadvantage if they cannot manage their services and protect their businesses from hackers. Rather than attempting to manage one’s IT services alone or taking on the cost of hiring an in-house IT team, small businesses can benefit significantly from outsourcing to an IT services provider. How does one find the right provider who will meet their unique needs? Today, we share the five steps to choosing the ideal IT services provider for your business.
5 Steps to Choose the Right IT Services Provider for Your Business
#1: Research IT Services Provider Companies Who Work with Similar Businesses
As with hiring anyone to be a part of your team, it is vital to thoroughly research a potential company before initiating communication. We suggest looking for an IT services provider who serves companies similar to your own. Aspects we recommend considering include the basics of industry type and company size, but you will also want to consider the working environment, such as remote, hybrid, or traditional office spaces.
After you have compiled a list of potential options, it is time to check their credentials. We suggest reviewing their experience, certifications, licenses, and ongoing education practices to ensure they are up-to-date with industry standards and are continually learning to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape.
#3: Meet with Potential IT Services Provider Companies
After you have identified a variety of IT services provider options, we recommend meeting, virtually or in person, with each one for an in-depth interview. If you have minimal technical experience, we suggest bringing your company’s current IT specialist to sit in on the meeting to act as a “translator” if need be. During the meeting, we recommend speaking with your potential hire about the following topics:
How Do They Formulate the Right Strategy for a Business
Everyone company is unique, which requires a customizable approach to an IT services provider plan. In addition to asking questions about their disaster recovery plan and back-up procedures, we recommend investigating how they develop their IT strategy, adapt to business changes, and communicate with department leaders to ensure quality service.
A critical aspect to note during a meeting is how they approach you. You want your potential IT services provider to be asking lots of questions as well: about your business, your future plans, your current procedures and systems, your IT needs, and more. You want them to be just as curious and invested in your business as you are in theirs.
Identify Companies Who Offer Packages
While billing by the hour may seem like a reasonable request, we suggest avoiding companies that use this billing method. Why? When hiring an IT services provider, you want them to get the job done right the first time without needing to go back in to add things or “fix” things, as that is them racking up more hours. When you have a package approach, they get a flat fee no matter what, so they typically provide the highest-quality service the first time.
Inquire about Alternative Services They Provide OR If They Outsource
Another warning sign is when an IT services provider offers alternative services. While jack-of-all-trade companies have their place, you don’t want this from this industry. If their attention is split among different task types, they are not fully invested in being a top-tier IT services provider.
A final tip when meeting with potential hires is to investigate whether they hire contractors or outsource their services. Again, you want your hire to be fully invested in you, not piecing out services to other random individuals whose qualifications you cannot verify. An IT services provider should be 100% in-house.
#4: Request a Variety of References & Follow Up
After you have had a good chat with your potential IT services provider applicants and they have passed all the topics above, it is time to do some additional investigation. First, you will want to request and follow up on a selection of references, at least three! While some spokespeople can spin pretty words, the proof is in the pudding. We recommend calling these references and verifying that the IT services provider’s work is worthwhile and effective.
#5: Carefully Read Through Service Agreements
Before making that final hire decision, we recommend carefully reviewing your service agreement. Again, if you do not have a ton of technical experience, you may want to bring in a specialist to go over the jargon with you in layman’s terms. The service agreement should have clear expectations and services listed, as well as the consequences to hold the provider accountable should they fail to provide the performance they promised.
IT Haven – An IT Services Provider You Can Trust
At the end of the day, you want to rest assured that your technology is safe and serving you well. At IT Haven in Tri-Cities, our tailored, customized technology solutions, along with our IT support, will enhance the success of your business or organization! IT Haven provides Complete Network Infrastructure Solutions, including anti-virus and anti-malware, DNS filtering, encrypted email, dark web monitoring, HIPAA compliance, and even more.
As a small business owner, you know that having reliable IT support can be critical for the successful operation of your business. Unfortunately, between cost and time considerations, you may feel it’s not the right time to hire an in-house IT team or continue tasking the task yourself. Luckily, there is another option – outsourcing your IT support to a dedicated service provider. Here are some of the advantages of outsourcing managed IT services for small businesses.
The Benefits of Outsourcing Small Business IT Services
Services from Expert Managed IT Services
Be honest for a moment; how knowledgeable and comfortable are you with the intricacies of small business IT services? Maybe you can back up your computer, but do you know how to set up encrypted email programs, perform dark web monitoring, or understand how to perform DNS filtering? If any of those words went above your head, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Like with every industry sector, there are people who do this day in and day out. They are the people who should be providing your small business with IT support rather than the nephew who is savvy with computers. By outsourcing IT support, you have access to industry experts who have obtained extensive experience in the field, pursue ongoing education, and are well-versed in every aspect of managed IT services you need to be performed. You can rest assured that you have up-to-date solutions which are tailored specifically to meet your specific business needs.
Access to the Latest IT Support Technology
We live in a digital age that is constantly innovating and building stronger support systems. As a small business, your team is unlikely to have access to the latest technology or know how to use it without any prior training. Rather than attempting to learn how to process these highly technical IT programs, update to new technology as it is released, and do it all right on the first try, you can rely on your outsourced IT team to do it for you.
Minimization of Extra Costs
Outsourcing IT services can offer significant cost savings over hiring internal staff or purchasing the latest technology solutions. Due to the fact that an outsourced IT provider has multiple clients, they have the scale to provide their services and related materials at a lower cost than a single organization operating alone. They have every program, and the skills to use them, to ensure your business’s IT services are managed appropriately.
Higher Security & Compliance
IT security is essential for any business, but implementing and maintaining complex network security measures can be difficult for those with limited technical knowledge. An outsourced provider can conduct regular security audits and update security software as needed so that your system remains secure. They are also able to detect external threats more quickly since they monitor all clients’ systems on a continuous basis.
In addition, many small businesses must meet specific IT requirements to stay within compliance with their industry. Even if you are an expert in your field, the technical security aspects of compliance may go far beyond your knowledge, but that is something you can never skimp out on. Small business IT services are well versed in keeping your organization within compliance regulations, even as they continue to evolve.
Increased Business Efficiency through IT Support
As every small business owner knows, time is money! When it comes to small business, many solo entrepreneurs or small teams where many hats – research, development, accounting, marketing, communication, and more. Outsourcing IT provides the benefit of having trained professionals take care of complex tasks quickly and effectively without needing technical resources from within your organization – freeing up valuable time for those other crucial tasks that cannot be handled by someone else.
Packages Designed for Your Business Needs
As a small business, your organization will go through chapters of development as it continues to grow. At this point, you may be a small team that needs the above benefits to free up time and resources. In the future, however, you may need more. When organizations outsource processes, they open themselves up to opportunities that expand beyond their existing resources, especially regarding agility and scalability in changing customer demands or industry regulations. When you outsource your IT support, you can relax knowing that they will grow with you, adapting to new needs, and providing consistent support as your business achieves new heights.
IT Haven – Your Partner for IT Solutions
If you are ready to enhance your small business, gain access to the brightest minds and latest technologies, and ensure your organization is protected, you need outsourced managed IT services. At IT Haven in Tri-Cities, WA, we offer security management solutions to ensure that the security of our client’s systems and data is a top priority. We deliver the technical expertise that small businesses need at a far lower expense than hiring an IT staff and without all the wasted hours of trying to do it solo.
At IT Haven, we offer a wide range of IT support services, including anti-virus/anti-malware technology, DNS filtering, email spam filtering, encrypted email, backup and recovery, remote monitoring management, dark web management, HIPAA compliance, and password management.
For a free consultation on how we can elevate your business and to request an estimate, all you have to do is choose a meeting date and time!
Do you inwardly (or outwardly) groan at the thought of yet another video call?
They’re now a normal part of our working lives, but it doesn’t make them any more exciting.
Good news: Microsoft is introducing Metaverse-style avatars, called Mesh avatars, to Teams.
You’ll be able to design your own avatar, personalizing its appearance, accessories, and even choosing its reaction gestures.
According to Microsoft, it’s common for us to feel stressed and exhausted after spending a long time on camera. So using a virtual representation of yourself to reduce that stress is just one application for these new avatars.
Better still, you won’t need an expensive virtual reality headset. It’s all done using the Avatars app that’s available in the Microsoft Teams app store.
Big tech is investing billions on developing the Metaverse – a 3D virtual world that mimics the real world. Within it you’ll find many of the things you’re already familiar with – shops, workplaces, and even social spaces. Some are predicting it will become ‘the new internet’ in the coming years.
It might seem wild to imagine a virtual world like this – but 20 years ago it was hard to imagine routinely having a mobile video calls with someone on the other side of the world.
Times change, and it’s really exciting.
Right now the new avatar feature is only available in the Teams preview build, but we’ll get a general release date soon.
Will you encourage your people to use personalized avatars in Teams? Want to find more ways to make work more fun for your team? We can help. Get in touch.
IT Haven Acquires Computer Troubleshooters of Pittsburgh Franchise
IT Haven has acquired Computer Troubleshooters in response to the owner retiring and to ensure that IT Haven leverages the extensive and expert knowledge of Computer Troubleshooters employees
Richland, WA — IT Haven has acquired Computer Troubleshooters in Pittsburgh, PA after their owner retired, and so IT Haven is able to leverage the two decades of collective experience and knowledge of their employees that will benefit IT Haven clients with unparalleled data management and security.
As a result of this important acquisition, IT Haven will be able to utilize the vast career knowledge of the employees at Computer Troubleshooters. This will ensure that IT Haven clients continue to receive exceptional quality specialized solutions.
IT Haven is committed to having patient data properly backed up and protected, so medical practitioners can focus on patient care.
IT Haven Services
Among the world-class services that IT Haven provides for its customers are the following:
Premium EDR Services – These EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) services provide companies with the upmost security and ensures they are optimally protected. The main objective of endpoint detection and response is to integrate multiple layers of threat prevention, detection, and response into a single solution.
Security Management Solutions – These solutions keep IT Haven’s clients’ systems and data secure, and they are tailored to fit the unique needs of each individual client. From IT Haven’s hardware to the services they use and implement, they provide an extensive solution that has been strategically engineered to keep their clients’ data secure.In addition, IT Haven keeps up to date with the current threats that are circulating and reviews their solutions in order to maintain the highest level of security for their customers.
Full-Suite Outsourced IT – IT Haven delivers end-to-end full-service IT support to businesses, so they never have to worry about IT issues again.
SASE – SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a client’s cloud network. It is wrapped up with high-security protocols to ensure a fast, safe cloud network.
VoIP – IT Haven offers customized phone solutions for business needs with exceptional support and fair pricing.
vCIO Consulting – IT Haven meets regularly with their clients to assess and plan in order to help them grow.
About IT Haven
At IT Haven, we offer specialized solutions, built for each individual company suited for their specific industry. For the industries that require mandated security to maintain their credentials or licensing, such as the healthcare and financial industries, we at IT Haven are knowledgeable and able to implement these requirements.
We take pride in being an important asset to all the companies which we manage by resolving their day-to-day issues, keeping their data safe and secure, increasing productivity, and helping them grow to their highest potential.
While Windows 11 is only just celebrating its first birthday, we’re already hearing our first rumors about what Windows 12 will have in store.
There’s no rush for the time being – we won’t see this new operating system until the back end of 2024 – but we love to be ready for what’s coming next, so here’s what we know so far…
Details are sketchy and as usual; Microsoft is being coy about what it’s planning. But we’ve been digging into how it could look. And it’s… different!
If our research is correct, we’ll see a floating taskbar dock and a search bar taking top-center position. The widgets panel and Action Centre will move to the top of the screen instead of the bottom.
We don’t expect a big change when it comes to hardware requirements, but they’re unlikely to cause the same headaches that arose with the launch of Windows 11. That’s because more PCs will be compatible out of the box.
That said, some of the security hardware required by Windows 11 will likely become more important as Microsoft keeps its focus firmly on security.
Above all, we’re expecting to see more of the stream of minor improvements that make such a big difference to useability. Making Windows 12 stable and bug free will be the number one priority – good news for all business users.
There will undoubtedly be more updates in the coming months. We’ll share the most important ones with you as we hear more from Microsoft.
If you haven’t yet made the move to Windows 11, now could be a great time. We can help with that. So, if you’re thinking about the upgrade, just get in touch.